A former deputy governor of Lagos State, Alhaja Lateefah Okunnu, has advised Muslims to give their house maids education as a way of empowering them and liberating them from ignorance.
Okunnu, who stressed the importance of education, said it was a sin against humanity to pre-occupy house maids with only house chores while they remain illiterates.
She said this at the 6th annual Ramadan public lecture titled, ?Education, the future of the Ummah in Nigeria ? the special role of Muslim women/N2Om education and welfare fund organised by the Islamic Education Forum, Magodo, Lagos on Sunday.
Okunnu said, ?At this modern age, it is a sin against humanity to keep house helps at home without giving them education.?
Urging the Muslims to embrace the position of a former Minister of Education, Prof. Aliu Fafunwa, that ?education for all is the concern of all,? she urged Muslims to take advantage of the Universal Basic Education by ensuring that every member of their families was literate.
The former deputy governor pointed out that considering the multi-religious setting of the country and the high rate of poverty among the Muslims, it was imperative that the Muslims should revive the propagation of the culture of mass education enumerated by Sheu Usman Dan Fodio.
He added that ?as Muslims, education has to be the core of our societal values.?
Okunnu said, ?By some divine providence, the collaborative effort of the Ummah of the South-West Nigeria in education ran pari passu with the initiatives to bring all the states in the region under one Ummah.
?With the successful launch of the Muslim Ummah of South-West Nigeria in Ibadan on August 10, 2008, we now have in place a unique all embracing structure that includes all the stakeholders ? the Ulama, the academia, youth, women and professionals.
?Expectedly, education is a major area of concern for the body. Apart from participating effectively in the education policy review project of the Federal Ministry of Education, MUSWEN has already started campaign for the UBE programme reference statement.?
Okunnu observed that the essence of Universal Basic Education Commission, the implementing organ of UBE, was to bring together all stakeholders in education to ensure that education for all becomes the responsibility of all.
She stressed that the term ?all children of primary and junior secondary school age? encompassed adult literacy and non-formal education, skills acquisition programme and education of special groups such as nomads and migrants fishermen, girl-child and women, Almajiris, street children and the physically- challenged group.
According to her, ?Indeed it is at these informal and support arena that creative energies are best mobilised to ensure that ?education for all is the responsibility of all? is most viable and the impact of education on national development could be most visible.?
She said the provision of UBEC Act, which stated among others, that every government should provide free, compulsory and UBE for every child of primary and secondary age and stressed the importance of parents? role, could only be guaranteed under an effective community-based and community driven arrangement.
She noted that there was the need to build community spirit and involvement in education, adding that, ?Muslims should be in the vanguard of such effort.?
Observing that the mosque should not be for mere praying, she called for the return of making the mosque a centre of learning and solidarity.
?MUSWEN blueprint on education should include the establishment in every neighbourhood mosque of education committee.
?Such a committee will have as its primary aim, the production of learned men and women through a programme designed for the entire Ummah from age zero to adulthood,? Okunnu said.
According to the Headmistress of the school, Mrs. Nkiruka Mbanefo, the schools, especially the pupils would forever be grateful to the furniture donor and the government for initiating the programme.?
Present at the event were the representatives of the Executive Chairman of the State Universal Basic Education Board, Mrs. Modupe Hanson, the Support Our School Initiative Desk Officer, Mrs. Sunkanmi Oyegbola, the Local Government Education Authority Secretary, Mr. Kayode Omiyale and the representatives of the Parents Teachers Association.
The state government had inaugurated the ?Support Our Schools? Initiative on August 5, 2008 as a means of restoring public schools to their former glory.